How the meter ran out for Brian Coleman
Published: 5th May 2012 08:31:34
There is no more money in his meter; Brian Coleman's time on the London Assembly has run out.
One of the key causes appears to be inherently local, but, one which will nonetheless resonate with voters across the capital.
Despite parking being a concern of local councils and not the Assembly it is an issue which has been seen as indicative of Mr Coleman's approach.
After 12 years at City Hall this campaign has led one of the Conservatives' highest profile names in London politics becoming one of its biggest casualties.
Mr Coleman's role in London though does goes on; he stills holds a seat on Barnet Council and is the Cabinet Member for the Environment.
That portfolio, though, seems to have been significant in his downfall.
It includes oversight of parking matters in the borough and that has resonated with voters.
Over the last few months changes have seen conventional meters replaced with 'pay-by-phone' technology and new prices that many feel have sky-rocketed.
Speaking to locals over the last few months there has been a clear and growing sense of anger within the borough at these changes. That anger has been largely focused at Brian Coleman.
One Conservative source within Barnet Council admitted as much, telling BBC London that it was "the one matter which kept coming up on the doorstep" as activists tried to canvass support for their candidate.
There is, the source added, a feeling that this was the one issue that had made the difference, and that is despite the Assembly seat being one that represents not just Barnet, but also Camden.
Barnet's residents have grown frustrated with what they perceive as the difficulties in parking within the borough.
One local resident decided to take matters into his own hands.
He set-up a Facebook campaign to try to "get back control of parking in Barnet".
Eliot Pollak said he did it because "Coleman simply didn't get the mustard, and angry residents have had enough of this man and his parking policies".
Many small traders have complained that the new parking regime has had a direct and negative impact on their fortunes.
Yossi Cohen owns 'B Kosher', a small kosher supermarket on Brent Street, which is a typical suburban high street full of small shops that need all the help they can get to stay afloat.
Mr Cohen said "before, people didn't mind paying 30p for parking to pop into the store".
However, now that the minimum charge is £1 "it's not worth it if they were just coming in for a loaf of bread or a box of eggs".
He also said many of his customers have had difficulty with the new technology.
The Labour victor in Barnet & Camden is Andrew Dismore, the former MP for Hendon, which itself lies within the London Borough of Barnet.
Alison Moore, the leader of the Labour opposition on Barnet Council, was closely involved in Mr Dismore's campaign and says the issue of parking was "indicative" of Brian Coleman's approach.
She says it showed up "how arrogant and out of touch he has been with the local community".
Pointing to what she says was Coleman's absence from the campaign trail in Camden, Ms Moore said that the Barnet side of the constituency therefore carried more weight in this election.
Parking, Ms Moore said, is important to a lot of people and was an issue that cut across the political spectrum.
Mr Coleman has also lost his position as chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), a role that came with his status as an Assembly member.
It is likely that the vice-chair Richard Tracey, who retained his Assembly seat for Merton and Wandsworth, will take over until LFEPA holds its annual meeting in June.
Mr Coleman, who didn't want to comment when asked what had gone wrong with his campaign, may sense a way back.
The mayor can handpick two appointees to LFEPA and a City Hall source said "everything is still up for grabs" with a raft of appointments to be made in the coming days.
In Barnet there will now be renewed optimism for the future with the hope that parking policy can be changed.
At 12:05:05 in SportAFC Telford have signed midfielder Godfrey Poku on a one-year contract.
At 12:04:02 in ScotlandAn Aberdeenshire town has called in a hawk to tackle an invasion of seagulls.
At 12:02:29 in TechnologyMicrosoft's latest attempt to resist a US government warrant demanding access to emails stored on servers in Ireland has been dismissed by a federal judge.
At 11:58:27 in EnglandThe bravery of 12 firefighters who battled a crash on the M5 in Somerset in which seven people when 34 vehicles collided, has been honoured.
At 11:54:27 in HeadlinesUganda's Constitutional Court has annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in February.
At 11:50:21 in HeadlinesIsraeli forces are searching for a soldier believed captured, as a Gaza truce collapsed and 27 Palestinians were killed in Israeli shelling.
At 11:50:19 in EnglandA sheltered housing alarm service will be switched off under budget cuts, Hampshire County Council has confirmed.
At 11:47:27 in EnglandBusiness leaders say they are concerned about the closure of Devon and Cornwall's main roads after they were shut almost 500 times over five years because of crashes and bad weather.
At 11:45:35 in WalesAn elderly man has died after a fire in a garden outbuilding in Gwynedd.
At 11:44:47 in EnglandPlans to open up a funeral parlour opposite a block of retirement flats have been described as "insensitive".
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. How the meter ran out for Brian Coleman [Online] (Updated 5th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426734/How-the-meter-ran-out-for-Brian-Coleman [Accessed 1st Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
Newly-qualified drivers in the Republic of Ireland will have to display a Novice Plate on their car from Friday.
Travel experts have advised air passengers to pack essential items in their hand luggage after baggage reclaim delays at Gatwick Airport.
An Aberdeenshire town has called in a hawk to tackle an invasion of seagulls.
Actor Daniel Radcliffe's appearance at a red carpet event in Mexico City has been cancelled due to overcrowding.
An elderly man has died after a fire in a garden outbuilding in Gwynedd.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com